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Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag

  • Don Fullerton

    ()

    (Eco, U. of Texas)

  • Thomas C. Kinnaman

    (Eco, Bucknell U.)

This paper estimates household reaction to the implementation of unit-pricing for the collection of residential garbage. We gather original data on weight and volume of weekly garbage and recycling of 75 households in Charlottesville, Virginia, both before and after the start of a program that requires an eighty-cent sticker on each bag of garbage. This data set is the first of its kind. We estimate household demands for the collection of garbage and recyclable material, the effect on density of household garbage, and the amount of illegal dumping by households. We also estimate the probability that a household chooses each method available to reduce its garbage. In response to the implementation of this unit-pricing program, we find that households (1) reduced the weight of their garbage by 14%, (2) reduced the volume of garbage by 37% and (3) increased the weight of their recyclable materials by 16%. We estimate that additional illegal -- or at least suspicious -- disposal accounts for 0.42 pounds per person per week, or 28% of the reduction in garbage observed at the curb.

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Paper provided by The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Applied Research in Economics in its series CARE Working Papers with number 9402.

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Length: 11 pages
Date of creation: Feb 1994
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tex:carewp:9402
Note: Published, American Economic Review v86 n4 Sep 96 pp971-84
Contact details of provider: Postal: Austin, Texas 78712
Phone: +1 (512) 471-3211
Fax: +1 (512) 471-3510
Web page: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/depts/economics/
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  1. Richardson, Robert A. & Havlicek, Joseph, Jr., 1974. "On Analysis Of Seasonal Household Waste Generation," Southern Journal of Agricultural Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 6(02), December.
  2. Baumol, William J., 1977. "On recycling as a moot environmental issue," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 83-87, March.
  3. James D. Reschovsky & Sarah E. Stone, 1994. "Market incentives to encourage household waste recycling: Paying for what you throw away," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 120-139.
  4. Fullerton Don & Kinnaman Thomas C., 1995. "Garbage, Recycling, and Illicit Burning or Dumping," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 78-91, July.
  5. Richardson, Robert A. & Havlicek, Joseph Jr., 1978. "Economic analysis of the composition of household solid wastes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 103-111, March.
  6. Hong Seonghoon & Adams Richard M. & Love H. Alan, 1993. "An Economic Analysis of Household Recycling of Solid Wastes: The Case of Portland, Oregon," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 136-146, September.
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